Setting Up Foobar2000 For True Peak & LUFS Integrated Readouts
A quick guide to get FB2K displaying LUFS Integrated and True Peak levels per track. All info subject to change as and when FB2K is updated.
What I am not going to do
1) Explain why the old, no longer supported, buggy, so called "DR" addon component is not worth using, or a reliable indicator of perceived loudness.
2) Explain what LUFS Integrated and True Peak are. I suggest a good read of some of these papers and links for anyone interested in why it might be important:
EBU R 128 - Wikipedia
LKFS - Wikipedia
I will also assume two things
1) That you know the basics of Foobar, this is not a beginners guide to the whole app.
2) That you are running the latest stable version, which is currently 1.6.7 final.
What I am going to do
Is take you step by step, setting up Foobar2000 without the need for any external components, to show the LUFS Integrated (overall track loudness) and True Peak (oversampled peak level likely to be output by your DAC) information, per track, in the track list/playlist. FB2K has for a long while switched its loudness analysis from ReplayGain to the more standardised LUFS internally, it's just a matter of getting it to show you the correct figures.
A) Adding the correct strings to FB2K
1) Bring up the Preferences via menu - File - Preferences, or Ctrl+P
2) On the left, click Display, then click Default User Interface, then click Playlist View
3) On the right, you should see the top box displaying Custom Columns. At the bottom of that box is an Add New button. Click it.
4) "Name" should now be highlighted, click there and we are going to label this "True Peak".
5) Click the "Pattern" box to the right of the "Name" box and enter this string, please cut and paste it:
6) Repeat the processes from 3-5 with a new heading using the following info, again, please cut and paste the string exactly as typed:
Name: LUFS Integrated
Pattern: $if(%replaygain_track_gain%,$puts(l,$sub(-1800,$replace(%replaygain_track_gain%,.,)))$div($get(l),100).$right($get(l),2) dB,)
I think the three "closed brackets" in the centre of the last string set how many decimal places you get in your LUFS Integrated readout, I have it set to three which is maybe overkill, so feel free to change it if you like. Report back if it works!
NOTE: This is not my string but was provided to me by a very kind person over on the Hydrogen Audio forums. Programmers/coders may know of a better way to display the info, and in future FB2K may incorporate a simpler string to show this info. (This previously happened with the True Peak level, which was a complex string, but is now in simple English). FB2K is being updated all the time.
B) Displaying the information in FB2k
1) In the FB2K Playlist window, right click anywhere in the second bar down (not the list of Playlists, but below it, it should have info for each track below it, right click anywhere it says track number, track name, track time etc.), and select Columns.
2) Your True Peak and LUFS Integrated settings have magically appeared in the list shown here! Select each one in turn, and notice how you now have two new info Columns in your Playlist. Re-arrange their position however you like with the other info Columns.
C) Required settings
We need to adjust some settings so that the oversampling used to guesstimate (yes, True Peak is at best a guesstimation, it's impossible to know the exact analogue level that will be spat out of your DAC) is set to the recommended 4x, as per the industry standard. 2x will be quicker when analysing but won't give you the accuracy of 4x. Greater than 4x is not recommended as it will take a much longer time to analyse files. Go to the Preferences menu as you did earlier in step A) 1 above. On the left, select Tools, then ReplayGain Scanner. On the right, my preferred settings are:
Quiet Mode: On/checked
Analyse Loudness using: EBU R128
Downsample HD content: Off/unchecked
True Peak Scan: On/checked Using: auto 4x oversample
Album Grouping Pattern: Leave at default
Click OK to save the settings and close the dialogue.
D) Scanning your tracks in FB2k to show the information
Finally, all that is needed now is to scan your music collection. There are a number of ways to do this, depending on which windows you have open and whether you want to use the File view or the Playlist view etc. I'm going to give a very simple example of scanning a single album.
1) Add a single album to your blank playlist as you normally would.
2) Select all the files in the playlist/album you want to scan.
3) Right click this selection, scroll down to the ReplayGain heading, and select "Scan as a single album"
4) Wait while the scan is done
5) When the scan is finished, the results should be populated under your new True Peak and LUFS Integrated Columns in your Playlist, and will also be written to the meta-data of the scanned audio files, so will always be available in future.
This will allow you to do crazy things like a playlist of your entire music collection, sorted from LOUDEST to quietest etc. My loudest is Merzbow's 'Pulse Demon' album. One track has a LUFS Integrated figure of +1.87dB and another track on the same album has a True Peak of +5.97dB
Please let me know if anything is unclear or there is anything I have missed. I think I switched from Winamp to FB2k about 15 years ago, so I may have many customisations not based on a standard install, so there is room for error. Please feel free to add to the guide too, maybe with other useful strings, here's another for starters, for Album Gain in LUFS (also from someone on the HA forum). To add it, just follow the steps above once more: